After a breakout season with Championship side Reading, defender Michael Hector is looking to carry his form into his first international appearance for Jamaica.
Despite having never been to the island nation, Hector, 22, is about to form a big part of their defence at the Copa America.
Hector, whose family all live in London where he has been tied to Reading since 2009, said he was still a proud Jamaican despite never travelling there.
“It’s a big part of my family,” the centre-back said, via the Jamaica Football Federation.
“Since I was young, I was always in a Jamaica shirt. I’ve always wanted to do my family proud, and I knew that playing for Jamaica, that would… make my family proud.”
While his family hails from Kingston, Hector packs a heavy British accent – although he is going to be a long way from home when competing under Winfried Schafer in Chile.
Hector finally got his chance at Reading in 2014-15, having gone on 11 loan stints while at the Madejski Stadium.
He played 41 league games and scored three times – although Reading suffered a poor season, finishing 19th in the English second tier.
“It was an up-and-down season, me personally, it was a breakthrough season for me at Reading,” Hector said.
“As a team we didn’t do too well. We had a good FA Cup run, getting to the semi-final. In the league, we were very poor.”
Hector also echoed coach Schafer’s prediction of Jamaica doing some damage at the tournament, despite being rank outsiders to win the title.
“It’s football, and anything can happen on the day,” he said.
“The team we have, it’s a strong team, some good players in it. I see the coach has got good tactics and good views on the game, so there’s no reason we can’t surprise a few teams.
“We come here as underdogs but… it’s football. Anything can happen, upsets happen every time. We’re not looking to make up the numbers, we’re looking to play in this tournament and do well.”
He added: “It means the world. Playing in a well-known tournament as the Copa America, it’s a massive tournament.
“In South America, it’s the bragging rights [tournament].
“As you can see the squads of the teams, they’re full with superstars so it’s a massive tournament. It’d be good to win.”
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!